Disconnected from physical activity | Sports England

by Adam Freeman-Pask

Head of digital innovation, Sport England

We live in a world where our digital and physical lives are entwined.

We take for granted how much we do online, from everyday shopping to booking holidays, to managing our health or contacting a GP.

Many of us have come to accept the digital direction and we either appreciate it making our lives simpler, like getting deliveries to our door; or tolerate it as things we just have to use, like mobile pay-and-go parking apps.

But what about people for whom this isn’t the norm? those who are not part of this digital revolution? For some, ‘digital’ is a divide that is leaving them behind, isolating them, and creating an unequal society.

That’s why when I read the Lloyds Bank 2022 Consumer Digital Indexwhich quantifies how digitally connected we are in the UK, it made me sit up and take note.

Acknowledging the digital divide

This study highlights that whilst more people are venturing online, the major problem is that one in five people, over 10.2 million of us, lack the digital skills to do the basics, such as connect to a Wi-Fi network or open a web browser .

Worryingly, this figure has remained largely static despite the uptake of digital technology during the pandemic.

Those most at risk are older adults, disabled people, and people who are unemployed or on low incomes.

These sections of our society also stand the most to gain from being physically active, so we don’t want to, unintentionally, create a digital barrier to them achieving this.

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